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How To Care For Your Family's Skin During Cold Weather

Did you know that your skin is your body's largest organ? It also contains hair follicles, oil glands, sweat glands, nerves and blood vessels and has many roles to play in keeping you healthy. Firstly, it works like a barrier to protect your body from the environment. It also regulates temperature and detects and fights off infections, while nerves in the skin let us feel things such as touch.

Particularly in the winter months, the colder air can dry out skin, making it twice as sensitive and in need of some moisture and hydration. Skin can become dull and irritated, and can lose up to 25% of the ability to hold on to moisture.

Read Next: Eczema And How To Manage It

But there are a few easy ways to keep you and your family’s skin as healthy as possible during the colder months:

Be careful with central heating

Although heating may keep the home nice and toasty, it will only produce hot, dry air, leaving little or no moisture in the air. Constant changes in temperature, from indoor dry heat to outdoor cold air, can also increase the amount of oil produced by skin, which can lead to acne breakouts. This can also cause dilation of blood vessels in the face, which could cause swelling.

Read Next: 5 Top Tips For Relieving Dry Skin

Try an air humidifier

An air humidifier will pump cool mist into the air, reducing dryness and giving your skin some well-needed moisture! If you want something more cost-effective, leaving bowls of water close to sources of heat in the home will also do the trick. You could add a few drops of essential oils such as tea tree or eucalyptus to make your home smell lovely too! The heat will cause the water to become warm and evaporate into the air, putting an end to dry air. Whatever you choose to do, ensure that there is some form of air humidification in several rooms of the home.

Use non-bio laundry products

Sensitive skin is also at risk of reactions to certain laundry products. When buying detergents take note of the chemical ingredients in a product. For instance, bio detergent will contain enzymes, designed to remove tough stains, and fragrances, which are used to cover up the chemical smell and make the detergent more appealing. However, for those with extra sensitive skin, this can cause allergic or negative reactions, resulting in rash and irritation. This is especially important when it comes to children. Non-bio detergents are enzyme-free and there are also fragrance-free detergents available.

Keep hydrated

Drinking the recommended daily amount of water (two litres) will allow your skin to hold on to moisture. Skin is an organ, containing cells that are made up of water, so when there is not an adequate amount of water getting to the skin, it won’t be at its best. Water acts like a moisturiser, but from the inside out. leaving little or no moisture in the air. To warm yourself up, include herbal teas (with a little honey to sweeten them!)

Did you know?  Skin is made up of an outer layer, the epidermis, and a layer of soft tissue underneath called the dermis. The epidermis constantly grows up towards the outer surface of the skin and sheds dead cells.

Read Next: 5 Benefits Of Oats That Might Surprise You

Expert Advice

From Selene Daly, Dermatology Clinical Nurse Specialist.

The onset of winter time can spell a change in the skin care that children require. The combination of a cold climate with central heating can play havoc with children who suffer from dry skin conditions such as eczema, so it's important to take extra care:

1. Firstly, and most importantly children should be washed with soap free products including shampoos, which are cheap and widely available for pharmacies across the country.

2. Regular moisturising should be practiced for children who have dry skin. This should be done as regularly as brushing their teeth. If eczema flares and the skin becomes red and irritated, topical steroids will need to be prescribed by the G.P. and used as per instruction.

3. Woolly clothes can really irritate children’s skin and overheat them. Unfortunately, they can be part of a uniform policy. Talking to teachers or crèche operators is beneficial to let them know that your child may not be able to tolerate wools and may need to apply moisturiser during school time.

4. Younger children who use sand boxes and paint play can suffer from hand dermatitis due to the irritating nature of the paints/sand. Again, consulting with teachers may be beneficial in controlling the eczema.

5. At home, try to keep the temperature between 18 and 22 degrees. Hot water bottles, electric blankets and hot radiators should not be used in children’s rooms. Bathing water should also be kept cool.

Do you have trouble with your skin over winter? What are your favourite products to use? We'd love to hear.


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